White-gray snow still covers patches of our backyard. The time to celebrate Jesus’ birth draws near. Wrapped gifts sit in the family room, ready to give to those we want to bless. The externals of Christmas are prepared.
But what about who I am on the inside?
Here I am on December seventeenth, soul thirsty—dried out and weary from the busy-ness this season has already pressed upon me.
This Advent season, I purposed to settle in and focus on what—on Who—we’re celebrating. Instead of filling more shelves with toys, more hangars with clothes, our family opted to spend most of our money on gifts for those who have nothing.
Yet, even knowing we’re making changes in our priorities, my heart . . . it feels down. The busy-ness of the season, the preparations for celebrating Jesus’ birth have stolen the joy I thought I would feel with the changes.
My soul craves the peace, the rest only Jesus gives. A fresh drink of His hope, His joy. Though I seek to celebrate Him, I am frail and limited in my ability to do this well.
To be still in His presence.
Instead, to-do’s rush through my tired mind, spurring my weary body onward to cross off the next item on my list.
Somehow, I thought the automatic result of making changes in how we “do” Christmas this year would be peace.
Peace doesn’t come in the doing. It comes in the being.
Being close to Jesus. Spending time in His word, in prayer.
Being still in His presence as many days of this busy season as I can. Even this is hard because my lists remind me of all I must do in the next few days.
Being willing to die to self, to have eyes wide open to see how I can be the blessing to those who people my days.
Being . . . what?
Being content that I am one of God’s girls, that He loves me. And letting that BE enough for this season.
I can’t be everything to those around me.
This practice of simply being stretches me. Hard. Till I feel like I’m at the end of myself.
Even in the busy-ness of this season, I can simply be as I spend time with Jesus. As I seek to be peace to quarreling sons, to a bone-weary husband. As I seek to gift love to those I care for with every cell of who I am.
And those I find difficult to love? I can ask God to love them through me, to soften my heart until it beats like His for them.
It’s as I lay myself out flat before Jesus—yielding to Him my discouragements, disappointments and hopes—I can be filled up by Him.
Perhaps as I focus on being rather than doing I will know His peace, know His joy filling the emptied out person I am right now. And my heart will be prepared to celebrate all that Jesus is and all He’s done.
What about you? How do you maintain a hopeful heart during the Christmas season? How do you purpose to be a blessing to others in this time of year?